recommended reading

DISA Signs Deal to Store Exabytes of Drone and Satellite Images

Samuel A. Nasso/DVIDS

This story has been updated with details. 

The Defense Information Systems Agency has awarded a $45 million sole-source contract to store “hundreds of billions” of imagery files -- each packing terabytes of data -- to Alliance Technology Group.

DISA said it awarded the large data object commercial cloud service contract to Hanover, Md.-based Alliance because it does not have the funding to purchase the required hardware and cannot provide the storage space in its own enterprise computing center. The agency offered justification for less-than-full competition in a document posted Thursday on the Federal Business Opportunities website. DISA said Alliance was the only contractor able to provide this cloud service “with available bandwidth at  a secure and accessible location.” 

Large data objects can hold from 8 terabytes to 128 terabytes of data, depending on database configuration, according to Oracle Corp.

DISA said it plans to use the commercial cloud provided by Alliance to store ISR imagery from intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platforms, including from drones and satellites that transmit, among other things, full motion video files that contain megabytes or more of data, depending on the length of the transmission.

DISA said the planned ISR Storage Cloud will exceed an exabyte, or one million terabytes, within the next few years and “may grow to 3-4 exabytes in the out years,” but the agency did not specify how many years.

Besides full motion video, the ISR cloud will also store data from laser detection and ranging systems that compute distances to targets, optical and infrared sensors and synthetic aperture radar sensors, all of which generate fat data sets.

DISA also specified that the ISR Storage Cloud will support data derived from the Air Force “Gorgon Stare” wide-area surveillance sensor system, which uses nine drone-mounted video cameras that can capture motion imagery of an entire city.

On the other end of the scale, DISA wants the ISR Storage Cloud to be capable of receiving geospatial information transmitted by iPads, as well as iPhone and Android phones.

DISA’s heavily redacted contract justification for the sole source award to Alliance -- which it classifies as a small, disadvantaged business -- provided few details on  the type of storage media that would be used, but did disclose the company will set up a data center comprised of self-contained storage units “stacked three high and grouped to meet processing requirements.”

These data storage containers will be shipped as fully operating units with a capacity of ten petabytes -- 10,000 terabytes -- connected together via a network to form the ISR Storage Cloud capable of scaling to exabyte capacity.

Neither DISA nor Alliance returned queries from Nextgov requesting further details on the ISR Cloud Storage system and contract.

Threatwatch Alert

Accidentally leaked credentials

U.K. Cellphone Company Leaks Customer Data to Other Customers

See threatwatch report


Close [ x ] More from Nextgov

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • It’s Time for the Federal Government to Embrace Wireless and Mobility

    The United States has turned a corner on the adoption of mobile phones, tablets and other smart devices, outpacing traditional desktop and laptop sales by a wide margin. This issue brief discusses the state of wireless and mobility in federal government and outlines why now is the time to embrace these technologies in government.

  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

  • A New Security Architecture for Federal Networks

    Federal government networks are under constant attack, and the number of those attacks is increasing. This issue brief discusses today's threats and a new model for the future.

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

  • Software-Defined Networking

    So many demands are being placed on federal information technology networks, which must handle vast amounts of data, accommodate voice and video, and cope with a multitude of highly connected devices while keeping government information secure from cyber threats. This issue brief discusses the state of SDN in the federal government and the path forward.

  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.